In response to cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis confirmed in Southwest Michigan, including three deaths, officials in several area school districts have announced precautions.
Watervliet and South Haven school officials both made announcements Wednesday due to the EEE scare.
Watervliet Superintendent Ric Seager reported in a news release that the district will fog all practice fields and blow away any and all standing water from school grounds.
In addition, the district will provide insect repellant to all students who have signed releases from their parents.
“While the application of insect repellant will not be mandatory, we are encouraging all parents to sign the release, if appropriate for their child,” the news release stated.
The district will only postpone, cancel or reschedule sporting events if recommended by the Berrien County Health Department.
“Our first priority as school officials is the safety and protection of the students in our care,” Seager wrote. “We have been working with the Berrien County Department of Health and Human Services, and with superintendents from across Berrien RESA, to build a safety plan that is sustainable for the duration of this outbreak.”
The school district is recommending that all households and businesses in the school community take similar precautions to assist in limiting risk from EEE.
South Haven district officials announced on Facebook on Wednesday evening that Friday’s homecoming events would be moved up, due to EEE concerns.
“As the health and safety of our students is our top priority, we will be adjusting our Homecoming schedule this year in accordance with the (Michigan Department of Health and Human Service) recommendations. While festivities will still take place this Friday, September 20th, the Homecoming Parade will now take place at 4:30 PM with the varsity football game kicking off at 5:15 PM,” the district posted.
Officials said South Haven residents should keep an eye on the district’s website, www.shps.org, for any further schedule adjustments.
The start-times for Friday’s varsity football games in Dowagiac (5:15 p.m.) and Niles (5:30 p.m.) have also been moved up to earlier in the evening.